WCU/UNC Charlotte Dual Doctor of Nursing Practice Program

DNP students


The DNP program is now offering a full-time and part-time course of study. At this time we are admitting a small number to the part time program and those spots will be filled based on order of applications received.

The Doctor of Nursing Practice (DNP) is the terminal practice degree in Nursing. This degree builds upon the student's current knowledge of clinical practice. The DNP will prepare students to practice at the highest clinical level and provide leadership in our dynamic healthcare systems. Graduates of the program will be able to analyze systems of care and provide high level leadership to improve patient safety and quality of care and to implement evidence-based culturally competent care practices.

The School of Nursing at Western Carolina University (WCU) and the University of North Carolina at Charlotte (UNCC) have partnered to offer a post-masters Dual Doctor of Nursing Practice Program. As a student, you will have access to expert faculty from both universities.

The Dual DNP is a hybrid program designed to prepare nurses for leadership in clinical practice. The DNP program can be completed in five semesters. New cohorts begin each Fall semester. Students will be required to attend 3 to 3 1/2 day immersion sessions at the beginning of each semester alternating between UNCC and WCU.

Degree Requirements

The Dual DNP requires 42 post-master's graduate semester credit hours of coursework and completion of a total of 1,000 clinical practice hours (includes 500 from MSN program). All students will be required to complete the curriculum which includes the courses listed below: 

Theoretical Base (15 semester credit hours)

NSG 822 Healthcare Policy and Ethics (3)
NSG 826 Leadership and Healthcare Systems (3)
NSG 816 Global Health and Social Justice (3)
NSG 823 Economic and Financial Aspects of Healthcare System (3)
NSG 827 Technology for Communication and Transforming Healthcare (3)

Methodological Issues (15 semester credit hours)

NSG 815 Healthcare Program Evaluation and Quality (3)
NSG 814 Foundations and Applications of Evidence-based Practice (3)
NSG 818 Leadership and Project Planning (3)
NSG 802 Community Epidemiology (3)
NSG 817 Applied Biostatistics (3)

Elective Courses (3 semester credit hours)

One elective in a chosen area of interest selected mutually with the advisor.

Clinical Residency and Project (9 semester credit hours)

NSG 883 Clinical Residency and Project Development I (2)
NSG 884 Clinical Residency and Project Development II (2)
NSG 885 Clinical Residency and Project Development III (3)
NSG 886 Clinical Residency and Project Development IV (2)

Click here to review the Dual DNP Program of Study.

Admission Requirements

Applications submitted by April 1, 2018 will be given priority consideration for Fall 2018 admission.

  • Earned master's in Nursing or applicable graduate program in an advanced nursing practice specialty from a nationally accredited program
  • An overall GPA of at least 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale) in the MSN program
  • Current RN licensure in the U.S. at the time of application with eligibility for NC licensure
  • Advanced Practice Registered Nurses (APRNS) must provide evidence of current national certification and meet the state requirements for practice in their state of licensure
  • An essay that addresses 1) advanced practice expertise, 2) career goals, 3) how earning the DNP degree will foster achievement of these goals, and 4) plans for a DNP project
  • Resume/curriculum vitae
  • Three professional recommendations (should address the practice capabilities of the candidate)
  • For international students, submission of TOEFL scores with a minimum score of 557 for the paper test and 220 for the computer test
  • Additional evidence for consideration of the application can be uploaded to the online application (e.g., publications, posters, evidence-based practice projects)
  • Evidence of 500 supervised/precepted clinical hours or documentation of an approved national certification*
  • Submit a completed application to Graduate School

*Students must submit a complete, notarized Clinical Hours Documentation form with the Graduate School application or provide documentation of an approved national certification:

  • AACN or AANP National certification as a Nurse Practitioner in specialty
  • NBCRNA as a Nurse Anesthetist
  • AONE Certification in Executive Nursing Practice (CENP)
  • ANCC Nurse Executive-Advanced
  • ANCC Clinical Nurse Specialist in specialty
  • CNC as a Clinical Nurse Leader

Students with less than 500 hours or an approved national certification must meet with the DNP Program Director to develop a clinical plan.

Application Process

1. Visit the Graduate School website to create an online graduate program application.
2. Upload your resume and program application essay to your application.
3. Upload a copy of your APRN certification to your application.
4. Upload a complete, notarized Clinical Hours Documentation form. 
5. List the names, titles and contact details of three individuals in your application who will submit recommendations on your behalf. These individuals will receive an email from the Graduate School containing a link to complete the online recommendation form. 
6. Request that official copies of your transcripts be sent to the Graduate School on the main WCU campus in Cullowhee, NC.
7. Request that an official copy of your national standardized test score (and TOEFL, if applicable) be sent to the Graduate School on the main WCU campus in Cullowhee, NC.

University tuition and fees

The Clinical Residency and DNP Scholarly Project

Students will complete a DNP Scholarly Project during their clinical residency courses. The DNP Scholarly Project brings together the practice and scholarship aspects of the Doctor of Nursing Practice degree. It is designed to address complex practice issues that affect groups of patients, health care organizations, or health care systems while utilizing informatics, technology, and in-depth knowledge of the clinical and behavioral sciences. The clinical scholarship required in the DNP Scholarly Project reflects mastery and competency in the student's area of expertise.

The DNP Scholarly Project begins in the first semester of study and continues throughout the program, culminating in a scholarly public defense and manuscript prepared for publication in a peer-reviewed journal. The DNP Scholarly Project requires students to demonstrate expert practice, the use of evidence-based practice, translational research, and use of skills necessary to lead interdisciplinary teams to improve patient/client outcomes and health status individually, organizationally, or within a community.

Students may choose to complete the required 500 clinical practicum hours in a private practice, clinic, inpatient unit, hospital system, or other institution or community. These hours will be a component of the assessment, planning, implementation, and evaluation of outcomes of the DNP Scholarly Project.

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